Can you make money sewing? Yes, you can, but it does take time. You can’t be new at sewing and think you can buy a sewing machine and start making money the next day.
Earning money by sewing
Sewing can be a profitable side business and even a full-time income. But just like anything else you have to build your business and hone your craft of sewing. If you are starting new to sewing, you can not expect to make a living off your sewing. It can take you several years to get up to that point, if not at all. Sewing isn’t easy. Especially when anyone can go to the store and buy already made clothing cheaper than you can most of the time, create yourself. By sewing your items, this is where you have to stand out and be different from anything else that is out there. There is this fine line of being similar but unusual that will set you apart and make you money.
Figuring out what you should sew to sell
Anyone who sells crafts always wants to know what sells the best. There are numerous ways for you to go about figuring out what crafts sell best. What I like to do first is to check out sites like Etsy. Etsy is a site that sells a lot of handmade items online. By checking this site out, you can find out what things are selling well and are popular. See what handmade sewn items are listed on the home page. Also, be sure to check out the ones that are being advertised on search pages. See which sellers have high sell volumes and what types of sewn items. It’s much like doing your homework on what is selling and what direction you will want to take your sewing of things you will have for sale.
After you figure out what you want to make, only create a couple of different ones. Don’t go hog wild and sew a ton of them to find out that no one wants even to buy what you are selling.
Another avenue to sell your handmade items
Craft fair and summer festivals are another great place to sell your items. Usually, these are held outdoors in the summer and require you to have a booth to showcase the things you have for sale. There is a cost to having a booth space. Check out my article on selling at a craft fair.
The cost of what to charge for your items
What to charge is a very sticky subject. You don’t want to, and you don’t want to “give” your item away either. In the past I have found that pricing my pieces a little cheaper, in the beginning, is always better than making them up high and then having to sell them less expensive because they are not selling. I feel that by marking them down, you are saying your item isn’t worth what you originally priced them. It devalues your work in a way. It’s better to sell many and make some money than sell only a few and have many unsold items left over. The more you items you have out there, the more people see them and want them. I’m not saying you should not ever put your things on sale but be very mindful of what prices you are charging. Be competitive but make sure to have more value for what they are getting compared to the next person selling something similar.
Starting a sewing business with little or no money
You can start a sewing business with little money, but it’s a bit tough to do so. If you already have a sewing machine, thread, and fabric, then you can for sure start to sew with no money to start. A great way to reduce your sewing costs is to repurpose materials and different textiles. Cut up an old shirt or pants to practice sewing with or even create items to sell with old clothing. Check out your local yard sales and even thrift stores for fabric or garments to reuse. Old sheets are great to use for multiple different applications in sewing. Look for name brand clothing to use to cut up. Even if it has a stain in the fabric, then you can always cut around it and use other parts of the fabric. Also, check out the buttons on different pieces of clothing to reuse. Look at the buttons on the garments and see if you like them but don’t want to use the actual fabric. Buttons can be expensive when bought new. Another great thing about buying garments for the buttons is you can find some cool old and even antique buttons.
How can I promote my sewing business?
If you already have a significant social media following then start posting some of your items for sell on those platforms. See what interest you get out of different things and what doesn’t get any attention. By doing this, it will help give you ideas of what might sell well and what won’t in the future.
Etsy is a great online platform to sell your items. You can also create your website to sell things, though. I would start small and list your items for sell on Etsy first. If you start selling items well, then go ahead and get your website set up but know that having a site and maintaining a website will cost you money and a bit of time.
Becoming a better sewer
With practice and time, you will become a better sewer. Watch online sewing videos for tips and tricks on how to do different techniques and ways of how sewing different fabrics. You can take online, and local classes I am sure are available for you to take on specific types of sewing. Check out your local sewing and craft stores to see if they offer classes. Even your local sewing machine sales stores will sometimes have courses you can sign up for and take.
Do your homework with wanting to start a sewing business. Look into many different things to make and always be open to changing the original direction of where you thought your sewing would take you. Take online courses, classes, etc. to help gain more knowledge and skills with stitching. Although I have sewn for years, I still like to take courses to learn new things. Even though I may know how to make a lot of stuff in sewing, there is always some neat new “nugget” I pick up for each class. My so-called nugget is a trick, tip, or insight on how to better my sewing. Always be open to learning new things.